Skip to main content

Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

See other formats


era was the most brilliant.   During this period, which coincided
roughly with the Third Century B.C., the influence of the Aris-
totelian and Platonic schools was still strong on the scientific
side, and showed itself in the splendid work done by Euclid in
geometry, by Archimedes in physics, by Hero and Philo in
dynamics, by Apollonius in conic sections, by Eratosthenes in
geography (among many other things), and by Hipparchus in
astronomy.   The same analytical interest appeared also in the
erudite study of the great Greek writers by Xenodotus and
Eratosthenes, the iirst two keepers of the great library, and by a
number of other bibliographers,   In the second period, which
ended with the expulsion of the (5 reek scholars from Alexandria
by Ptolemy IX. some time after his accession in 146 B.C., the
scientific studies had largely ceased and literary criticism was
supreme.   The great names of the nge are those of two of the
most distinguished scholars of antiquity, Aristophanes and Arist-
archus, the third and fourth keepers of the library*   Unlike the
scholars of the preceding century, who were both poets and
scholars, they were scholars pure and simple, and spent their
lives in a minute study of Homer and the other Greek poets.
Aristarehus, whose commentaries occupied eight hundred vol-
umes, is of special note in the history of education for his work in
the establishment of grammatical science.   The beginnings of
grammar arc to he found in I'lato and Aristotle and in the Stoics
of the Third Century, but it was not till Aristarchus had distin-
guished eight parts of speech- -noun (including the adjective),
verb, participle* pronoun, article, adverb, preposition, and con-
junctionó that grammar assumed the form which, with some
modifications, it has retained in the studies of the ordinary school
ever since,  Concerning the third period, there is little to be said.
The compulsory departure of the Greeks, about 146 B,CM enriched
other countries with scholarly teachers, but left Alexandria so
poor that for more than a century after there is scarcely a name
of any note in her annals*   In the absence of the Greeks, the Jews,
who had been a prominent element in the academic group from
the beginning, became still more important:   a fact of con-
siderable consequence for the later development of the Alexan-
drian school in the Christian era.